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Best low-light or zero light indoor plants

While all plants need some light to live, plenty are among the most adaptable to low-light conditions, making them the best low-light indoor plants that will thrive in a dim area of your home or office. They may not love it, but they will adapt - especially if you coddle them with extra light from time to time (by bringing them outdoors to enjoy warm weather in a sheltered, shady spot).

In nature, some plants grow at the bottom of larger plants, so they only receive dappled or highly diffused light and there are many houseplants that can thrive in low-light.

But, these houseplants require very little care and almost zero sunlight. 

If your home has only a few windows or just have certain areas in your home that do not have much ambient light, these are all houseplants that will still be able to survive with a plant light or some could do just fine with limited natural light.

These houseplants are beautiful, easy to care for, and will do well in low-light homes. 

 

Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema)

Its graceful, oblong leaves grow from a central stem; depending on the type, leaves may be solid medium green or splotched with various shades of grey and green. Aglaonema likes a standard potting soil, warm temps, bright, reflected light, and frequent watering. Also known as the Chinese evergreen, it is so low maintenance that it can go without water for up to three weeks. Except in winter, apply a complete fertilizer regularly. It can survive in fluorescent light. It will tolerate high humidity and it is a plant that’s hard to kill!

 

Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia)

Offering generous size, fascinating foliage, and good tolerance of indoor conditions, Dieffenbachia with its fascinating foliage, and good tolerance of indoor conditions is perfect as a houseplant for darker spaces. Young plants generally grow on single stems, but older plants may develop multiple stems. Flowers that look like odd, narrow calla lilies form on mature plants. 

Dieffenbachia likes filtered light or a northern exposure. It’s happy with standard potting soil, average home temperature, and average humidity. Water it when soil feels dry to the touch. Except in autumn and winter, apply a complete fertilizer regularly. It will not survive over watering and sudden changes from low to high light levels (inflict sunburn on leaves). If the plant becomes leggy, cut it back to 10-15 cm from the soil line. Clean leaves regularly with a damp cloth.

Caution: Acrid sap from the leaves, if eaten, burns the mouth and throat and may actually paralyze the vocal cords, hence its common name (dumb is an archaic word that means "mute").

 

Spider Plant

Spider plants, native to tropics owe its popularity to its unique growth habit and for its ease of growth as a low light houseplant. To best protect these offspring, grow spider plant as a hanging plant.

Spider Plant prefers bright, reflected light, standard potting soil, and average house temperature. Though it will tolerate the low humidity of most homes, it does benefit from frequent misting. Let the soil dry out a bit between watering. If you grow Spider Plant in a hanging basket, rotate the basket a half-turn so to produce even, well-spaced growth. It can survive for years in indirect light and even live prosperously if it’s been lacking water for a while. In fact, during the winter months, it needs very little water at all.

 

ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

This tropical perennial plant is well loved for its upright, glossy foliage that is vaguely reminiscent of cycad fronds.  This low light houseplant, is incredibly slow growing, thrives in standard indoor potting soil, as long as you let the soil dry out slightly between watering. Place it where it will receive bright filtered or reflected light, such as a north-facing window. Avoid direct sunlight as it can scorch leaves. 

ZZ Plant has almost no maintenance needs: wipe a damp cloth over its leaves every once in a while to get rid of any dust, and that’s it. This houseplant is nearly impossible to kill.

 

Cast-iron plant (Aspidistra)

As its common name implies, cast-iron plant is one of the sturdiest and most carefree of all houseplants. Though very tolerant of a wide range of conditions, Aspidistra prefers high humidity, cool temperature, and a standard, porous potting soil. It’s one of the best choices for low-light locations, but keep it away from direct sunlight. Keep it evenly moist; except in autumn and winter, apply a complete fertilizer regularly. Allow it dry out somewhat during the autumn and winter rest period. Its large, glossy and dark leaves attract dust so you better keep them clean with a soft, damp cloth. Don’t use commercial leaves shine products. Brown or burned tips usually result from too much water or fertilizer, particularly during autumn and winter. This plant is remarkably free of pests and diseases, and is quite long-lived.

 

Parlor palm (Chamaedorea)

This feathery-leafed palm is among the easiest palms to grow indoors. It tolerates crowded roots and low light. Choose standard potting soil. During spring and summer months, when most palms are actively growing, they need regular water - enough to keep their soil consistently moist but not soggy. During the cool winter moths, allow the top inch of soil to dry between watering. Palm root rot quickly if kept damp for too long. Except in autumn and winter, apply a complete fertilizer regularly. It's susceptible to spider mites; sprits frequently with a dilute soapy water to prevent infestations.

Re-pot Chamaedorea every 2 or 3 years, using a slightly larger container and fresh potting soil; be careful because roots are fragile.

 

Dragon tree (Dracaena)

Dracaena means “female dragon” in Greek. The low-maintenance plant is so called because of the red resin that forms in the stems of the plant, which was said to resemble dragon’s blood. Dracaena plants hail from Madagascar, and are perfectly at home in a semi-shady spot or in filtered light (for example, through a sheer curtain). Placing these plants in direct sunlight is, in fact, bad for them: The sun can scorch their leaves! The plant grows well with standard indoor potting soil and average house temperature and humidity. Keep soil moist but not soggy and fertilize regularly during spring and summer with a complete fertilizer. During autumn and winter, water less frequently and stop fertilizing. To keep Dracaena in good health and looking its best, regularly wipe leaves off with a damp cloth or move your plant to a location where it can be given a gentle shower. Avoid commercial leaf shine product. If your plant develops brown tips, simply cut them off with a pair of scissors, making sure the trimmed leaves still have a natural shape. Dracaena will tolerate a pot-bound condition for long periods and is rarely bothered by pests or diseases.

 

Rubber plant (Ficus elastica)

Ficus elastica is one of the most foolproof of all indoor plants. Thick, glossy, and leathery with its dark green leaves this plant can reach ceiling height. It's also one of NASA's standard houseplants for improving indoor air quality.

Rubber plant tolerates less light than most other plants of its size, but is happiest in bright, reflected light. It needs average room temperature. Except in autumn and winter, apply a complete fertilizer regularly. Provide a standard indoor potting soil, keeping it moist (like a squeezed-out sponge), but not soggy. Mist during warm months and in winter if the indoor air is warm and dry. In winter, let the soil dry out slightly between watering. Do not over water because allowing water to collect in a saucer or cachepot commonly leads to leaf drop. Rubber plant is generally pest-free.

 

Fiddle Leaf fig (Ficus lyrata)

Ficus lyrata is one of the most favourite plants with its huge dark green, fiddle-shaped leaves. Except in autumn and winter, apply a complete fertilizer regularly. Provide a standard indoor potting soil, keeping it moist but not soggy. Mist during warm months and in winter if the indoor air is warm and dry. In winter, let the soil dry out slightly between waterings; overwatering (or allowing water to collect in a saucer or cachepot) commonly leads to leaf drop. Ficus lyrata tolerates low light; it doesn’t require a large pot, but be sure to stabilize a large plant in a small pot so it won’t tip over. For health and best appearance, keep the leaves clean by wiping them with a damp cloth or give your plant an outdoor shower. Prune the top to make the plant bushy, and then root those stem tips - with a leaf attached - in water to propagate baby plants

 

Sansevieria

Snake plants are also known as mother in law’s tongue. It’s suggested that this nickname comes from the leave’s sharp point. Its striped color earned its name as a “snake” plant because it slightly resembles a snake’s skin. They are visibly tall plants and hardy enough to withstand the most forgetful plant parent. Snake plants can hold up their sturdy look even with a few weeks of neglect. Snake plants can tolerate a wide range of light conditions, but prefer indirect light. They easily rot, so it’s important to let their soil dry between waterings. Take a look at our snake plant care guide to learn more in-depth information about caring for your snake plant.

 

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum plant)

If you want a plant that will do as well in low light as in direct sun, and will improve the air quality of your home then the Peace Lily is the perfect plant for you. With bright, bountiful foliage and beautiful white flowers, it makes a stunning plant for any room in your house or office. Spathiphyllum prefer partial shade over full sun, and can even flourish in rooms lit by artificial means only. It blooms throughout the year, and doesn’t require any special attention. It will start to get droopy when it needs water.


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